Graduation rate increasing for Delaware students

WILMINGTON — Students are graduating from Delaware high schools at the highest levels in a decade, according to the 2019 graduation data released by the state Wednesday.

The statewide graduation rate for the class of 2019 was 88.2%, an increase from the class of 2018, which had a graduation rate of 86.69%. Class of 2020 data will not be available until 2021, according to a news release.

By county, New Castle had the highest graduation rate at 90.5% followed by Kent at 87.38% and Sussex at 87.06%.

“More Delaware students are graduating high school ready for college or a career,” said Gov. John Carney in a prepared statement. “That has been a focus of Secretary (Susan) Bunting and her team at the Department of Education since we took office in 2017 — and it’s great news for the future of our state.”

African American students, Hispanic students and students with disabilities also recorded the highest graduation rates since Delaware began tracking additional data in 2010, according to a news release.

The class of 2019 graduation rate was 85.02% for Hispanic students, 86.37% for African American students and 90.7% for white students. The rates are up from 2017 by about 4% for Hispanic students, 5% for African American students and about 1% for white students.

The graduation rate for students with disabilities in 2019 was 71.59%, up from 67.62% in 2017.

Due to COVID-19 school building closures, data collection for the state’s dropout rate typically released with the graduation rate data has been delayed. That report will be released in the fall, according to a news release.

“This data is important because it is more than a set of numbers in a report. It confirms that more Delaware high school students are leaving high school with a diploma, an important milestone in furthering their education and career. I congratulate the educators, families and students whose hard work has led to this progress,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting in a prepared statement.

She noted that the department still has work to do, however.

“Our subgroup data shows that some student groups are not graduating at the same rate as their peers,” she continued. “We must provide additional targeted supports to ensure every child is leaving high school with the diploma that will open the door to future success.”

In Kent and Sussex County, Polytech School District and Sussex Academy saw the highest graduation rates, with more than 95% of students graduating from their high schools. New Castle had four districts/charters hit more than 95% of students graduating: Appoquinimink, MOT Charter, New Castle County Vocational-Technical School and Newark Charter School.

Of the Kent and Sussex Schools, Woodbridge had the lowest graduation rate of traditional school districts (76.69%) and First State Military Academy (75.45%) of the charter schools. In New Castle County, Christina School District had the lowest graduation rate at 76.49%.

For Woodbridge, the low graduation rate is a slide from the past two years, where the rate was 80.95% (2018) and 79.72% (2017). First State saw a slight increase from last year’s data, and Christina’s graduation rate continues its third year of improvement, rising by 7% from 69.51% in 2017.